[Athen] Looking to add/update our tech for blind/visually impaired students

Stager, Catherine Catherine.Stager at frontrange.edu
Mon Sep 27 13:23:54 PDT 2021

Hi NJ,
Independence science is a great resource, as Wink mentioned. I echo the need for the would be engineer to learn LaTex – it can be a valuable tool for anyone wishing to do any publishing in the field and it makes interacting with math much easier.
Even if you do not produce Braille it may be worth investigating the Phoenix embosser for the tactile graphics support. I would probably go this direction rather than a PIAF: the Phoenix has tactile graphics software included in its software package and can easily make use of images the APH Tactile Images library, or even just emboss a PDF. There is about $1000 difference in price, but the cost of the paper the PIAF uses is high and small errors make an entire drawing unusable. Since a Phoenix uses Braille paper it is more cost effective in that sense.
I loved working with the Tactile Talking Pen and the STEM binder<http://touchgraphics.com/portfolio/ttpen-stem-binder/> from TouchGraphics – their Periodic Table of the Elements was a favorite of students I have worked with.

From: athen-list <athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu> On Behalf Of Normajean.Brand
Sent: Monday, September 27, 2021 9:08 AM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu>
Subject: Re: [Athen] Looking to add/update our tech for blind/visually impaired students

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Hi Wink,
No, unfortunately, I’m not able to attend this year either in person or virtually. Budgets have been slashed tremendously.


From: athen-list <athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu<mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu>> On Behalf Of foreigntype at gmail.com<mailto:foreigntype at gmail.com>
Sent: Friday, September 24, 2021 7:04 PM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu<mailto:athen-list at u.washington.edu>>
Subject: Re: [Athen] Looking to add/update our tech for blind/visually impaired students

Are you going to sign up for the Accessing Higher Conference? There is a specific presentation by Volker Sorge on Wednesday afternoon 11/17 on Easy Accessibility for Chemistry. It's available on the virtual conference so if you can go in person, it's available online. Volker is also doing a presentation on Thursday at the conference entitled "Automated Generation of Tactile Math." I know this is not an immediate fix, but either one of those or both of those presentations might be helpful to you in the future. Joe Polizotto is also giving a presentation on math conversion into HTML & Nemeth code.

My two cents on student responsibilities for preparing for upper division science & math? Either one or both of the students need to learn Nemeth code for their math courses and/or LaTeX coding. Learning Braille would benefit them in college work in general.

Here is an organization you need to hook up with. It's an organization of blind scientists which, I assume, would include aerospace engineers. It is called Independence Science: https://independencescience.com/resources/

You might pass this information onto your student for their future contact.

You'll need some kind of process to create raised tactile drawings, illustrations, graphs, etc. You won't be able to send it all out so having some in-house mechanism would be helpful. The raised line picture in a flash (PIAF) device from Freedom Scientific would be helpful. https://store.humanware.com/hus/piaf-picture-in-a-flash-tactile-graphic-maker.html#:~:text=Piaf%20is%20a%20machine%20that,called%20capsule%20or%20swell%20paper.&text=The%20heat%20of%20the%20Piaf,are%20blind%20and%20vision%20impaired.

Hope this helps. At least it's a start. I'm sure others will Japan with some more useful information & contacts.

Wink Harner
Accessibility Consultant/Alternative Text Production
The Foreign Type
Portland OR
foreigntype at gmail.com<mailto:foreigntype at gmail.com>
This email was dictated using Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Please forgive quirks, misrecognitions, or errata .

On Fri, Sep 24, 2021 at 3:40 PM Normajean.Brand <normajean.brand at hccs.edu<mailto:normajean.brand at hccs.edu>> wrote:
Hello all,
We’ve been given a little money to “add new or update” our technologies for our blind or visually impaired student’s use on campus. We already offer Fusion/JAWS/ZoomText, and Dragon on campus. We have the Kurzweil web license and Glean, which students can download to their personal computers, a partnership with Freedom Scientific for Fusion/JAWS/ZoomText for the Sponsored Software license for our students, and Microsoft 365.
My thought is to add items from the APH store like the Tactile Drawing Board but not sure what else to add to my wish list. We don’t have any one who knows how to Braille, or own an embosser or software for creating; so, I’m open to suggestions on these items. What else should I be looking for?
Note: It is rare that I have any students who know any level of Braille or who own an embosser or any Braille reading technology, however, this semester I have two and as luck would have it, both are in level 1 chemistry classes and algebra. One is dead set on becoming a aerospace engineer, the other is general/liberal arts – neither have had sight since birth. Most of my blind students have come to us totally relying on JAWS for their technology because that is what they were taught.
Thank you for your insights and suggestions,

NJ Brand, ATAC
ADA Tech/Assistive Technology Technician, Center for Learning Innovation
● Spring Branch Campus ● Suite RC12/13 – Note: Working remotely, off-campus, due to COVID-19 until further notice
● T: 713.718.5604 ● F:713.718.5430 ● HCCS<http://hccs.edu/> <http://hccs.edu/>

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